BOO! Learn All About Halloween in the USA

One thing I miss about the US is Halloween. It’s a fantastic holiday!

Some of the wildest and craziest times of my life have happened on October 31st.

To me it really represents American culture; creative and excessive, funny and expressive.

But what exactly is Halloween? Is it when kids walk around the neighborhood asking for free candy? Is it when people go out in the streets to party? Is it about witches and vampires and other scary creatures?

Well, yes. It’s all of those. But how you celebrate Halloween really depends on your age, beliefs and personality.

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Being VERY creative on Halloween

An Extremely Brief Hitsory

“Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”).

The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter.

The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.

The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats to the area. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween.

Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them.” ***text taken from http://www.halloweenhistory.org/

 

Samhain

Crazy old times

 

Halloween as a kid

As a youngster, Halloween has a magic feel to it.  On October 31st, kids bring their costumes to school, anticipating an afternoon of parading and sweets eating. I remember walking in a line through the halls of my elementary school as a child, showing off my costume and looking at the other kids in theirs.

I don’t remember what all my costumes were, but I do remember being a clown, football player, ninja (at least once) and a pilot.

 

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Parading on Halloween

 

When school ended, which was around 3pm, I’d go home extremely excited to hit the sidewalk at night to go trick-or-treating.

Trick-or-treating is simple.

You put your costume on, grab a pillow case, and walk around the entire  neighborhood for hours with your friends, asking for free candy at your neighbor’s front door.

After walking for miles and spending 2-3 hours tick-or-treating we’d bring in huge amount of candy.

 

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Pillowcase full of candy

 

A pillow case completely full of all different kinds of candy, weighing what I would guess must have been 10 pounds.

Definitely not good for your health or your teeth, but great for your ego. The more the candy you got, the cooler you felt.

I’d then go home and dump it all on the floor, sort it, and see what my hard work had gotten me.

For the next couple of months, I’d have a bucket of candy waiting for me when I got home.

 

 A little older and a little more evil

When you get to be about 12, simply walking around the neighborhood and asking nicely for candy loses a bit of its appeal.

In my case, I replaced that lack of appeal with mischief.

Smashing pumpkins (yes that’s an activity, not just a band) stealing other’s candy and lighting fireworks were added to trick-or-treating.

 

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A ninja chopping pumpkins

 

The costumes became a little darker too, like demons, monsters, dead people and other more “attention grabbing” ideas.

This rebellious behavior only lasted a couple years until I was physically too big to convince my neighbors that I deserved free candy.

Trick or treating is only valid for those under the age of approximately 14.

 

 

Adult Entertainment

Teenage years are a tough time for Halloween. You can’t do what the younger kids do and you’re also not old enough to go to bars and clubs to celebrate Halloween with the adults.

For this age group, there are Haunted Houses.

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www.13thfloorhauntedhouse.com/

 

Big money is spent on professionally built houses of terror, and some of these can scare the S*#^ out of you.

If you’re ever in the US during Halloween, I’d definitely recommend finding a Haunted House in the city you’re in. Most will have some.

Having a scary good time Once you’re of legal age, the week of Halloween becomes a week of partying.

If Halloween falls on a weekday, the weekend before will have costume parties all over the city.

Some people host Halloween parties in their house, and bars and clubs have their regular nights going but everyone including the staff dress up in all sorts of costumes.

 

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Clubbing on Halloween

 

As far as costumes go, there are basically two valid options:

1)      You dress up like a famous or well-known character and play the part as much as your courage will allow

2)      You come up with something totally unique and impress everyone by showing them how creative you are.

It’s really a night for everyone to let loose and stop worrying so much about what others think.

This “letting loose” is why I like Halloween so much. Drinking in bars and clubs with hundreds or thousands of people all acting like somebody they’re not is amazing to me.

 

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Enjoying the evening

 

People acting like someone else in front of complete strangers brings out the humor in everyone, which I think we could all use more of.

I see that Halloween is growing a little in Brazil, and there’s also Dia das Bruxas which some people take advantage of to throw “costume” parties.

For me,  I quickly realized that everyone in Brazil dresses up either as a vampire or witch and nothing.

 

ingles ninja

 

Hopefully in the future, people get a little more creative so I don’t have to dress up as a witch again. Once was enough.

Did you learn a little bit more about dressing up as something creative and try to make others laugh with your costume.

 

Happy Halloween!

Kevin